Final annual international student enrolment statistics for 2001

Introduction

These selected statistics are derived from the Overseas Student Statistics Collection (OSSC). The overseas student statistics in the OSSC are compiled from visa data supplied by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), and in the case of higher education data, primarily from the Higher Education Statistics Collection (HESC). They represent the number of enrolments in the calendar year of students with a current visa, and, for those records drawn from the HESC, the number of student enrolments included on the HESC enrolment file for the year.

International student numbers

The number of international student enrolments with Australian education providers during 2001 was 233 408. For reasons explained in the section labelled Changes to Overseas Student Statistics (OSS) data in 2001, this number cannot be readily compared with year 2000 overseas student enrolments. It is likely, however, that there was significant growth in enrolments, of at least 15 per cent between 2000 and 2001. The main impact of the changes is most evident in the ELICOS and vocational education sectors (see Table 7).
The strong growth experienced during 2001 continues the recovery experienced within the international student market since 1998. This recovery followed the contraction in student numbers resulting from the Asian economic downturn.
As the graph below indicates, the number of international student enrolments either in Australia or with Australian providers overseas has grown markedly since 1994, when overseas students were enrolled in Australian courses. The graph also points to the strengthening area of offshore higher education enrolments, which numbered nearly 43 000 in 2001.
Note: there was a probable break in series between 2000 and 2001, indicated on the chart by a vertical line.

Country

China, with 26 844 student enrolments, was Australia’s number one source country for international students during 2001, closely followed by Hong Kong with 24 602 enrolments. Singapore, which was the top ranking source country for overseas student enrolments in 2000, was in third place with 23 164 enrolments in 2001. All of the top 10 source countries for overseas student enrolments in 2001 were in Asia, as was the case in 2000. The top 10 source countries are shown in Table 1.
Outside Asia, a number of other counties contributed to the record number of overseas student enrolments in 2001. Several countries in the Americas appear to be growing strongly, among them Colombia, Canada, the US and Brazil. Similarly, there are a number of countries in Europe, including the Czech and Slovak Republics, Norway, Sweden, Britain, France and Germany, where enrolment numbers are growing. Table 2 shows a time series of overseas student enrolment data for major source countries.

State/territory

New South Wales hosted the largest number of onshore enrolments by international students during 2001 (74 329) followed by Victoria and Queensland (Table 3). These three states increased their share of total onshore overseas student enrolments from 82 per cent in 2000 to 83 per cent in 2001.
The composition of international students by country varies considerably between the states and territories. For example, while Western Australia has 10 per cent of all onshore student enrolments, it hosts 31 per cent of all sub-Saharan African onshore student enrolments (Table 4).

Sector

Enrolments within the higher education sector have grown continuously since 1994, and in 2001 international students undertook nearly 130 000 Australian higher education courses (Table 5). English Language Intensive Course of Study (ELICOS) was again the second largest sector in terms of student enrolments, followed by vocational education and schools. ELICOS enrolments have returned to levels not seen since 1996, before the Asian economic downturn in the late 90s. It should be noted that there are a significant number of ELICOS students on short stay visas not included in these statistics.
Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong continue to be Australia’s largest higher education markets (Table 6), with a growing emphasis on offshore enrolments. There was strong growth in offshore enrolments from both the United Arab Emirates and Fiji, albeit off a small base.
Indonesia has supplanted India as Australia’s number one source country for vocational education enrolments, Korea is in third place, followed by Japan. China retains top spot as a source of overseas school student enrolments, followed by Korea and Indonesia.
China, Korea and Japan fill the top three places for enrolments in ELICOS courses. Thailand fills fourth place for ELICOS enrolments, as well as being the sixth largest source of VET enrolments.
With the exception of school education, where Victoria has a larger number of student enrolments, the number of enrolments across each sector was higher for New South Wales than in any other state or territory (Table 7). However, Victoria had only 700 fewer onshore higher education enrolments than NSW, out of totals around 25 000 each. Queensland was also within 200 enrolments of catching Victoria for second place in ELICOS enrolments.

Changes to Overseas Student Statistics (OSS) data in 2001

The 2001 overseas student statistics have been derived from data supplied by DIMIA and the HESC. The DIMIA data is used to count students studying in Australia in a private higher education course, vocational education course, a school course and an English language course (ELICOS). Data for students undertaking a course of study with a public higher education provider, either onshore or off-shore, is obtained from the HESC.
Improvements to the way DIMIA record overseas student information have resulted in 2001 data, which is not fully comparable with that from previous years. Users should take care in interpreting trends in overseas student engagement with Australian education providers based on comparisons with previous years.
The introduction of Electronic Certificate of Enrolment (eCoE) has had the effect of increasing the number of enrolments that are now counted. Previously, a student wanting to undertake more than one course of study was granted a visa for the longest or major course of study to be undertaken and resulted in the student being counted once. Under the eCoE system, a student undertaking more than one course or ‘packaging’ a program of study has each component part of their intended course of study recorded separately. This has resulted in more courses being counted than previously.
The major effect of these improvements to the way DIMIA records student enrolment data is to create a clear distinction between the number of overseas students studying at Australian educational institutions and the number of courses undertaken by those students. The following summary table illustrates these differences for the leading source countries of overseas students.
While this distinction has always been present in the OSS data, it has not been obvious because most students held a CoE only for their current course of study. The data on students in the table below is not comparable with the data in OSS 2000 and earlier years. The term ‘student’ in OSS 2000 is defined as ‘enrolment’.
Changes to regulations relating to the grant of student visas, and the success of the Australian education industry in attracting students from new and emerging markets has led to a dramatic increase in ‘packaging’, where students combine enrolments in several courses. As each component of a package has a certificate of enrolment, the increase in packages has contributed to the difference between the number of overseas student and the number of enrolments courses taken by those students.
Data presented in the following 2001 table refers to student enrolments. Users should refer to this explanatory text and to any footnotes before making comparisons between the 2001 data and data for previous years.
Summary table: Overseas students and student enrolments by country and major sector (excluding students enrolled with a public higher education provider), 2001
 
  Total Private higher
education
VET Schools ELICOS Total
Country Student Students Enrol Students Enrol Students Enrol Students Enrol Enrol
           
China
15 808
257
267
2425
2542
4183
4282
10 108
10 902
17 993
Korea
13 002
275
280
3761
4005
1951
1996
8236
9336
15 617
Japan
9117
111
116
2871
3087
1120
1142
5514
6276
10 621
Indonesia
7655
380
391
4265
4638
1609
1629
1782
1868
8526
Thailand
6218
163
166
2020
2164
575
590
4118
4742
7662
Hong Kong
5014
256
263
2150
2274
1029
1054
1734
1795
5386
India
4167
329
355
3764
4128
66
68
32
32
4583
Taiwan
3586
129
135
801
861
605
625
2286
2599
4220
Brazil
2472
34
36
763
809
376
380
1629
1842
3067
Malaysia
2378
281
294
1327
1413
632
644
183
202
2553
Vietnam
1645
21
21
736
779
226
231
777
794
1825
Colombia
1437
42
43
439
461
10
10
1192
1327
1841
Czech Republic
1414
7
7
537
573
5
5
1030
1117
1702
Singapore
1271
132
137
719
761
425
431
8
8
1337
Slovakia
1148
8
8
679
749
1
1
610
646
1404
Sri Lanka
1143
26
27
1068
1195
15
15
60
60
1297
USA
1118
448
461
538
553
128
131
9
10
1155
Bangladesh
1000
22
26
776
852
26
26
307
318
1222
Great Britain
965
82
84
652
677
185
188
50
51
1000
France
868
38
41
183
193
48
48
627
641
923
Switzerland
858
12
12
84
90
34
34
733
756
892
Poland
718
7
7
372
415
7
7
427
446
875
Germany
814
58
62
218
231
309
318
236
243
854
Russia
590
21
21
277
297
42
47
341
388
753
Nepal
651
13
15
618
714
13
13
10
10
752
           
Others*
9691
1185
1257
5015
5384
1173
1197
2730
2971
10 809
           
TOTAL
94 443
4337
4532
37 058
39 845
14 793
15 112
44 769
49 380
108 869
* All other countries including those where the country of nationality is unknown or not stated
NOTE: the count shown for total students comprises an unduplicated count of students and is less than the sum of enrolments by sector. This is because some students are enrolled in more than one course that may cover one or more sectors.

 

Further information

For further information on the Overseas Student Statistics Collection, as well as general information about market indicator data, please contact IEResearch@education.gov.au.